BY CASSI GORMAN
As Macklemore once said, “I’m gonna pop some tags. Only got $20 in my pocket.”
Eight years after that iconic song was released, the world has seen a remarkable increase in thrift shopping. This trend is reflected in Carmel High School students, many of whom frequently hit thrift stores to snag rare and cute clothes.
One local thrift store, Yellow Brick Road, reports a substantial increase in sales over the past five to ten years, accompanied by an influx of younger shoppers.
“There’s absolutely been a rise in thrift shopping,” remarks sophomore Chloe Gladstone, who frequently thrifts. “There’s a lot in the media right now. Half of it comes from popular Youtube stars doing it and then everyone just follows, so now it is super popular.”
Thrifting has boomed on social media. Youtube stars like Emma Chamberlain and BestDressed, with eight and two million subscribers, respectively, have pushed thrift shopping into mainstream media, posting videos of thrift hauls and “thrift flips”—tutorials on how to transform thrifted clothes into trendier pieces.
Thrift shopping can be a fun treasure hunt, trying to find unique items that can’t be bought at your local Forever 21. Junior Quinn Nachbar appreciates the diversity of brands in a single thrift store and mentions that her favorite thrifted item is either her favorite pair of jeans or a green jacket with brown lining.
On top of that, students recognize the environmental benefits.
“I learned about fast fashion, and it really disgusted me,” sophomore Danielle Sherman says. “So I started thrifting [and] never went back.”
Recycling clothes through thrift shopping is one of the best things to do for the environment, eliminating waste from mainstream fashion companies. The Student Environmental Resource Center of U.C. Berkeley reports that Americans throw away over 10 million tons of clothing each year, crowding landfills and taking years to degrade. Buying second hand clothes will decrease demand for cheaply made clothing from fast fashion companies.
“It’s a lot more sustainable than buying clothes new and you are saving money,” junior Sydney Trainor says. “Also, establishments like Goodwill use a lot of their profits for good causes and provide jobs for people getting back on their feet.”
Thrift shops around the peninsula are using their profits and influence for good. Joining Hands Benefit Shop, located in the Carmel Barnyard, donated $30,000 last year to organizations providing housing support to those in need in Monterey County. The aforementioned Yellow Brick Road, located in the Carmel Crossroads, has also been a substantial force for good in the community.
“Our outreach benefits the community in many ways,” says Krissy Huston, the store manager of Yellow Brick Road. “We provide a place for older volunteers to find companionship and a sense of purpose, reselling and helping our customers to repurpose keeps used items from going to the landfill. And the money we generate goes right back out to our local nonprofits and schools. Over $6 million to date!”
The monetary aspect of thrift shopping is also a no-brainer: Low prices on high quality and nice items are attractive to students. More than that, the trendiness of thrift stores has removed stigmas placed on those from lower income families.
“It used to be a thing, like, if you could not afford nice clothes, you would have to shop at thrift stores,” Gladstone says. “But now, everyone is doing it, so people who can’t buy nice things aren’t looked down on for where they shop.”